Hedgerows and Wood Pasture
Hedgerow Management and Wood Pasture Projects
Hedgerows and wood pasture are an important historical landscape feature as well as providing valuable habitats for a wide range of plants and animals. Trees in the farmed landscape can provide shelter, shade and forage for animals, reduce flooding impact, improve soils and reduce nutrient and sediment loss. Many hedgerows were removed after the Second World War though there are remnants of these left. We often plant hedges following those existing old hedge lines as well as on new boundaries.
Wood pasture enables the grassland to still be grazed. These can be successfully established in areas such as bracken beds or steep hillsides where other environmental improvements are limited. We build wooden tree cages and use Cactus guards (a wire guard with short spikes to prevent animals rubbing against it) to establish wood pasture and plant infield trees. The larger tree cages can contain a mixture of trees and shrubs such as hawthorn, blackthorn, rowan and oak. The shrub mix will help protect the trees as they grow, with the cage being removed once established.
Hedgerow and wood pasture creation can be beneficial to the farm business. They can create longer term income streams through ELM’s and other Biodiversity Net Gain or carbon offset schemes. There are several options within the current schemes for payments for the creation and sustainable management of hedgerows, woodlands and wood pasture.
Tree cages being built to recreate wood pasture near Ullswater, March 2023. This was one of 100 that were built on this farm, mainly in areas of old wood pasture and in bracken beds which will help reduce the bracken once the trees are established and animals trample the area around them, as they use them for shelter and shade.
A new wide hedgerow planted on the line of an old hedge, Matterdale valley, February 2023. This hedge will be allowed to grow taller and wider and managed traditionally. Wider fencing means that the hedgerow does not need to be cut back for a long time, if at all, until it is ready and established enough to lay.
Please see below for more information about trees in the farmed landscape: